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Add Rocksteady to List of Bandwidth-Aid Applications

4/25/2004 8:00 PM Eastern

New broadband vendor Rocksteady Networks Inc. is pitching cable operators an at-the-edge bandwidth-management that could be used for tiered business services and residential peer-to-peer limitations.

“We sit at the edge of the network and allocate bandwidth on a user-specific basis,” said David Turnbull, vice president of marketing for Austin, Texas-based Rocksteady. “We can dynamically manage bandwidth, enforce security and do it remotely from a Web-based browser.”

Rocksteady was formed two years ago, and is populated by former executives of Internet high-flyer Vignette Corp.

PEER-TO-PEER START

Turnbull said some of those executives began having conversations a few years ago with local Time Warner Cable executives in Austin, who at the time expressed a need to manage peer-to-peer traffic in parts of town populated by college students.

“The first application was capping the abuse with P2P,” Turnbull said. “Then the question got asked: Could you develop tiered services?”

At the same time, Rocksteady was pitching similar applications to the enterprise market, centering on providing secure worldwide Internet-protocol data delivery for a large corporation.

The Rocksteady software sits on a Linux-based server at the edge of the network and has the capability to individually manage up to 2,000 data users.

In Austin, Time Warner Cable has installed units at MDUs to control peer-to-peer traffic, Turnbull said.

BUSINESS A TARGET

While peer-to-peer residential traffic is one application, the company has shifted its focus to the cable industry’s business services initiatives, believing that application has a better shot at gaining traction.

“We can deliver tiered services to business subscribers for half the cost of telcos,” Turnbull said. That tiering could range from 256 Kilobytes per second to 45 Megabits per second, he said.

“We can segment VoIP traffic, or put in virtual private networks for, say, a $9.99-a-month service. We can protect calls from voice-data collisions and insure call priority. We can deliver intrusion detection service for $50 a month.”

Added Rocksteady director of product management Roger Heaston: “We can lock down bandwidth upstream and downstream. We can assign bandwidth that you can oversubscribe to. We can plan and enforce capacity limits and prioritize broadband users. We can set up groupings by client, group and time.”

The software does require a user specific database for authorization, authentication and accounting, Turnbull said.

But Heaston said Rocksteady’s ability to dynamically change bandwidth to individual users at the edge is the company’s key differentiator.

“We work in complementary fashion to DOCSIS 1.1 and 2.0,” he added.

Turnbull said he’s pitched Rocksteady to most of the other Time Warner Cable regions, and many have shown interest.

He also said he’s about to make the pitch to Time Warner Cable corporate, as well as to other MSOs.

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